RAWA have received a response from SAFC to some of the questions we published about the allocation of tickets to NUFC. It is reproduced in full below.
In response, whilst we welcome SAFC's commitment to future engagement with RAWA and other supporter groups, we remain disappointed that "what do our supporters think?" was not at the forefront of the Club's mind. Whilst we acknowledge the limited timescales available for consultation, the lack of engagement and communication during the process, along with the final outcome on location and allocation, has resulted in real anger from many supporters.
In the context of previously existing issues with the ticket office, replica shirt availability, issues around the location of away fans, and general customer service, this situation has for many confirmed a narrative that SAFC take their passionate support for granted. We hope that in future the Club can work with supporters in a meaningful way, via now overdue supporter collective meetings, to improve how SAFC interact with and service their loyal fanbase.
SAFC Response Begins
Sunderland AFC appreciates the points raised by the Red and White Army Supporters’ Trust
earlier this week and welcomes the opportunity to address any outstanding concerns felt
within our fan base.
As communicated last week, Emirates FA Cup rule 191 stipulates that the visiting Club has
the right to claim up to 15% of the tickets issued up to a maximum of 9,000.
This obligation can only be bypassed if the visiting Club accepts a lower allocation, or it is
deemed unsafe by the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG).
In this instance, Newcastle United recognised the unique challenges faced by all parties
relating to this fixture but still requested the ‘maximum allocation possible’.
SAFC considered all options to safely fulfil its competition obligations. A summary of the
considerations is given below.
To ensure the safety of all supporters in attendance and receive approval from the SAG, it
would not have been possible to house all visiting supporters in the North Stand Upper.
This would have resulted in home and away fans using the same entry points and it would
also not have been possible to conduct the enhanced search operation in place for all high-
risk fixtures due to the increased volume of attendees compared to a league match.
Moving away supporters to the Roker End (South Stand) was also dismissed and the
decision was therefore taken to proceed with the arrangements communicated last week,
which eliminates the requirement for enhanced searches and reduces the potential of fan
base interaction upon entry.
This option received subsequent approval from all parties, including NUFC who agreed to
reduce their allocation from 15% and facilitate the coach travel of all away ticket holders as
required by Northumbria Police.
We appreciate and understand this has resulted in immense disappointment for some of our
supporters, who are now required to move from seats they have held for many years.
Those impacted are guaranteed an alternative seat at the same price they would have paid
in the North Stand and their designated sales phase ensures they have a wider selection of
seats to choose from than if they entered in phase one.
The meeting minutes from the discussions held are also a matter of public record and as a
result, they will also be published by the SAG later.
We regret that due to the extremely limited timescale involved and processes outlined
above, combined with the focus on safety of those attending, consultation was not possible
on this occasion.
All at Sunderland AFC remain committed to working with our supporters and we continue to
appreciate the support of our dedicated Supporters’ Groups.
SAFC Response Ends